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A Colorado man has been accused of killing his ex-girlfriend days after law enforcement officers came to the house on a domestic violence call, but made no arrests.
Wayne Lotz, 58, is now facing charges of first-degree murder, tampering with evidence and tampering with a deceased human body in the death of 55-year-old Michele Scott, according to a statement from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
The investigation began Sunday night after Scott’s neighbors were concerned that they hadn’t seen her in a couple of days and called the sheriff’s office to conduct a welfare check, authorities said.
Deputies arrived to find the “home locked and dark” and no one home.
The next day, Scott’s neighbors spoke with a member of her family and got permission go inside the home. The neighbors concern for her safety grew when they discovered that Scott’s dogs had been left alone in the home and had not been taken care of for some time.
Deputies arrived at the house around 8 a.m. and found “concerning evidence” inside that they felt “suggested foul play” and launched an investigation to find the missing Conifer woman.
Investigators also found “evidence” at her home that led them to identify Lotz, who was her ex-boyfriend, as a person of interest in the disappearance.
Authorities also noted that there had been a history of domestic violence between the pair, describing a series of domestic violence calls to the residence. The final call to the home occurred less than a week before she disappeared on February 7.
According to the sheriff’s office, “no arrests were warranted at that time.” Authorities did not disclose the circumstances around the call or any additional details about why deputies did not make any arrests.
Oxygen.com reached out to the sheriff’s office, but did not receive an immediate response.
While surveilling Lotz on Monday, deputies discovered that he was driving Scott’s car, a 2005 red Toyota Highlander. He also was in possession of her debit card, according to authorities.
Lotz, who authorities say has a “lengthy criminal history,” was arrested on charges of aggravated motor vehicle theft and criminal possession of a financial device and was booked into the Jefferson County Jail early Tuesday morning as the search for Scott continued.
Her body was discovered later that day just before 2 p.m. near the intersection of Pleasant Park Road and High Grade Road in Conifer. The sheriff’s office said investigators discovered the body using “forensic technology” but did not provide any additional details about what that entailed. Her cause of death was also not released.
The sheriff’s office is asking for the public to look through their security camera footage over the last week to see whether any footage might have captured Scott’s red Toyota Highlander. Anyone with any information about the car or the case, is urged to contact a tip line at 303-271-5612.
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